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A Genealogist In The Archives: "31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady" Day #29 Ask The Archivist!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady" Day #29 Ask The Archivist!

There are only two days left in this series of "31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady". I hope the tips that have been shared everyday have inspired you to get out and visit archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, libraries, university archives and museums to find records for your ancestors.

Houston County, TN. Archives Entrance

If you can not travel to the archives, make a phone call or email them to make your requests. The important thing is that each and every genealogists who has read this series of posts during this month of October now knows that there is so much in our archives across the United States. The records sitting on shelves that are not online are just waiting for YOU to discover them! 

Today's tip is an important one for each and every genealogist. If you walk into an archive or find yourself needing to call or email them, please don't be afraid to talk to the archivist, make a request or ask what records are available. We are here to help you! We can't be of help if we don't know what you need. Our archivists, clerks and volunteers are there to help the genealogist locate records for their ancestors.

Ask An Archivist Day on Twitter, October 1, 2016

Here are a some guidelines to help the genealogist when asking questions of the archivist:

  • Be as specific with your request as possible. The more specific your question is, the better the archivist will be able to help you.
  • Please don't ask "I want everything for the Smith family". This question will not be beneficial to you or the archivist. It will only serve to make the process of searching for records more difficult.
  • Call Ahead! Ask the archivist about specific records such as vital records, deed records, court records, etc. and what the archive has available. Understanding if the archive has the records you are looking for before you even step foot in the facility will save you precious research time.
  • Ask the archivist about Vertical Files. These records were talked about on Day #19 of this series. Remember that these records are usually not in plain site and will need to be requested.
  • Ask the archivist about Manuscript Collections. These records were talked about on Day #26 of this series. Again, remember that these records are stored in back rooms and will need to be requested. Be sure to study the Finding Aids of the collections that interest you.
The next time you are visiting an archive, talking with an archivist on the phone or sending an email, communicate your needs to the archivist. 
Now Available on Amazon Kindle!
"It's Not All Online, Researching in Archives"


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